Finding The Mastermind

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaTHE endeavor to uncover the real mastermind behind Joko Soegiarto Tjandra’s escape is far from complete, even though the police have declared a number of people who were involved in protecting the corruption case fugitive, as suspects.

    The statements from police generals, prosecutors and attorneys involved in the case still leave a number of unanswered questions.

    As of last week, the National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim) had named former chief of the Bareskrim's Bureau of Coordination and Oversight of Civil Servant Investigators, Brig. Gen. Prasetijo Utomo and Chief of the National Police International Relations Division Insp. Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte as suspects. Attorney Anita Kolopaking and businessman Tommy Sumardi were also been named suspects after their involvement came to light. At the Attorney General's Office (AGO), prosecutor Pinangki Sirna Malasari subsequently joined the list of suspects. Including Joko Tjandra himself, there are now six people under investigation by the law enforcement authorities.

    The swift action by National Police Chief Idham Azis and Attorney General St. Burhanuddin will only be worthy of appreciation if the entire network of case brokers who smoothed the way for Joko Tjandra is revealed. There are still many holes in the investigation into the six suspects, especially around the role of senior law enforcement officials in Joko's escape.

    In other words, the investigation into this case must not stop at the level of middle-ranking officials. It is not making sense that the plan to ensure the freedom of a notorious corruptor was only the work of one or two-star generals, especially since the grease money suspected to have been paid to them was only US$20,000, or around Rp300 million. Compare this with the US$10 million bribes that Joko Tjandra promised to pay prosecutor Pinangki for example. The statements by Anita and Pinangki that key officials in the National Police and AGO knew of their actions must be investigated, especially since Anita and Tommy Sumardi are known to have long been close to law enforcement officials.

    A serious investigation into the Joko Tjandra case is absolutely crucial. Without a comprehensive investigation, the same kind of collusion will happen again. We still remember the 2010 case of Gayus Halomoan Tambunan, the ministry of finance taxation directorate-general official who was jailed for his role in the tax mafia, and who had bank accounts containing billions of rupiah. Gayus was able to leave his jail cell and travel to Bali, Kuala Lumpur, and Macau thanks to collusion with corrupt police officers, attorneys, and case brokers. Unfortunately, the brains behind his escape have never been uncovered.

    Apart from this, the investigation into the Joko Tjandra case is important in order to restore public trust in this nation's law enforcement system. The public does not want to see efforts to localize this case so that it does not touch higher-level officials, for example. Without law enforcement institutions that can clean themselves up no matter who is involved, it is difficult to hope for justice and fairness for all citizens.

    In the midst of doubts among people that the law will not be properly upheld in the Joko Tjandra case, President Joko Widodo must intervene. As the head of state, Jokowi needs to speak clearly to the people and guarantee that the corruption and bribery in the escape of Joko Tjandra will be investigated from top to bottom. A resolute commitment and support from Jokowi are important to avoid the impression that the Palace is protecting certain individuals.

    A strong and clear statement from Jokowi is needed because the actions of the people protecting Joko Tjandra are not some trivial cases. These people misused their authority as law enforcers and played games with legal certainty. The three main components of our criminal justice system, namely the police, prosecutors, and attorneys, have lost credibility as a result of the actions of the case brokers in the Joko Tjandra affair.

    There is no need for President Joko Widodo to worry that his statement could be seen as an effort to intervene in the legal process, a concern which has been expressed in whispers in the Palace. A head of state can only be accused of intervening in the process of law and order if his or her actions have the potential to turn into an abuse of power. But on the other hand, when the legal process in the law enforcement institutions does not proceed according to laws and regulations, the president must give a warning and take corrective measures.

    Without leadership and clear direction from President Joko Widodo, it is difficult to imagine that the mastermind behind the Joko Tjandra case will ever be revealed. The already tarnished image of our legal system will only get worse.

    Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine